Physical activity may reduce pain intensity for cancer survivors: Study

People who have had cancer often experience ongoing pain, but a new study reveals that being physically active may help lessen its intensity,

New York, Feb 12 (IANS) People who have had cancer often experience ongoing pain, but a new study reveals that being physically active may help lessen its intensity, according to a study.

Although physical activity has been shown to lessen various types of pain, its effects on cancer-related pain are unclear.

The study, published online in the journal CANCER, shows that higher levels of physical activity are linked with less pain, and to a similar extent in adults with and without a history of cancer.

“It may feel counterintuitive to some, but physical activity is an effective, non-pharmacological option for reducing many types of pain. As our study suggests, this may include pain associated with cancer and its treatments,” said Dr. Erika Rees-Punia, from the Department of Population Science, American Cancer Society, in Georgia.

For the study, a team from the American Cancer Society, US and University of Melbourne in Australia, analysed information pertaining to 51,439 adults without a history of cancer and 10,651 adults with a past cancer diagnosis.

Participants were asked, “How would you rate your pain on average,” with responses ranging from 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst pain imaginable). Participants were also asked about their usual physical activity.

The results showed that for individuals who had cancer in the past as well as for those without a history of cancer, more physical activity was linked with lower pain intensity.

The extent of the association was similar for both groups of individuals, indicating that exercise may reduce cancer-related pain just as it does for other types of pain that have been studied in the past.

Among participants with a past cancer diagnosis, those exceeding physical activity guidelines were 16 per cent less likely to report moderate-to-severe pain compared to those who failed to meet physical activity guidelines.

Also, compared with people who remained inactive, those who were consistently active or became active in older adulthood reported less pain.

–IANS

rvt/uk

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